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One of the Greats Has Passed


ChokweFrom Staff and Wire Reports
I developed a political consciousness because I had a mother who knew. She knew about justice and injustice, about self-determination. She had an analysis about society and freedom. She saw teaching this as a necessary part of nurturing her child.” —– Chokwe Lumumba

” I only came to the movement because of King, and he was killed. I only stayed in the movement because of  Malcolm, and he was killed. Then, I (Chokwe Lumumba) became a leader.”

Many people in Jackson, Miss., still do not entirely know what to make of the mayor with the unusual name and even more unexpected résumé, who proudly embraced the term “militant” and to many was still the same dashiki-wearing firebrand who first came to prominence advocating an independent Black nation in the South in the early 1970s.
But when Jackson said goodbye to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba this weekend, Blacks and whites, for a change, largely united in mourning an unlikely experiment that ended when he died last month, apparently of a heart attack, at age 66, after only eight months in office.
To many in the capital’s Black majority, the mayor was still the passionate advocate for Black causes who over a 40-year career represented the rapper Tupac Shakur and pressed the state to retry the killer of the civil rights leader Medgar Evers. To the white business establishment, he had evolved into a surprisingly pragmatic politician who promised to fix the potholes and the sewers and passed a sales tax increase to help do it.
“It was very much like Nixon to China,” said Leland Speed, 81, chairman of the EastGroup Properties real estate investment firm, who admits he did not vote for Mr. Lumumba. “The expectations when he was elected were not very high, and he surprised everybody pretty dramatically.”
What is no longer much debated here, from the tumbledown shacks in Jackson’s hollowed core to the colonnaded mansions and gated communities in the largely white northeast, is the sense that Mr. Lumumba was moving a city ravaged by decades of poverty, crime and white flight in the right direction. What is less clear in this city of half a million, the state’s largest, is what comes next.
Mr. Lumumba first arrived in Jackson in 1971 as a leader of the Republic of New Afrika, the 1960s-vintage liberation movement that called for billions in reparation payments to Blacks and an independent Black-majority nation in what are now the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Mayor Choke Lumumba has Birmingham connections.
Mrs. Naomi Truman was a classmate of his in college and they practiced Law together in Michigan.
Mrs. Truman further stated that he was the brightest of the bright and spent his entire life helping  those who were less fortunate than himself.
It’s unfortunate that he had to leave us too soon.

This reminds me of the following poem:
Those who are dead are never gone,
They are in the darkness that grows lighter
And in the darkness that grows darker.
They are in the trembling of the trees.
In the groaning of the woods,
In the water that runs deep.
Author Unknown